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Security Tight at Maccabi Games

August 11, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Officers stood watch Wednesday as hundreds of young Jewish athletes competed in an Olympic-style event, one of many instances around the nation of tightened security after Tuesday’s shootings near Los Angeles.

About 700 teen-agers from Canada, Israel, Mexico and 15 U.S. cities were in Columbus to take part in the Maccabi Youth Games, a five-day, four-city event ending Thursday. Some participants said the wounding of youngsters at a Jewish Community Center made them nervous even though it was 2,000 miles away.

``It shows you that you never know what can happen,″ said Hallie Blazar, 15, of Dayton. ``It’s sad that something like this could happen.″

Joel Dinkin, executive director of the Jewish Community Center in Columbus, one of the hosts for the games, said an extra off-duty police officer has been added as a precaution because of the California violence.

Two officers stood watch over a tennis match in Wolfe Park, east of downtown.

``It makes me feel more comfortable,″ said Boris Dvorkin, 14, of Bexley, Ohio.

Nancy Meyer of Bexley, who is providing housing to two athletes from Washington, D.C., said they asked about the shootings.

``They were concerned about what had happened and were nervous,″ she said. ``They saw the security here and thought that was great.″

Opening ceremonies Sunday at Ohio State University’s Value City Arena featured a tribute to 11 Israeli athletes who were killed at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany.

``There’s been a lot of discussion out of all of this,″ said Aaron Friedberg of the Columbus area. ``Hopefully with the extra security, nothing will happen here.″

He spoke before Wednesday’s news that Buford O’Neal Furrow, the suspect in Tuesday’s shootings, had surrendered in Las Vegas.

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